Symbols of Office

At New Mexico State University our symbols of office include a mace, medallion and  seal.  Symbols of office are extremely symbolic and important aspects of academic ceremonies.  The New Mexico State University’s symbols of office are housed in the President’s Suite in Hadley Hall.

The University Mace

University MaceA mace with its early history and functions has evolved into what is now considered a treasured relic, symbol of authority and an institution’s most sacred symbol of office. A mace is a descendant from war clubs carried in medieval times, its use dates back to 1189-99 CE.

A mace symbolizes the authority invested in the president by the school’s governing body. When the authority is present, the mace is present, when the authority leaves the mace also leaves.

New Mexico State University’s mace is used only on formal occasions, such as commencements, convocations, and presidential inaugurations, when participants are in full regalia.

The literal and symbolic information about the university is incorporated into the design. The ornament atop the mace signifies a blooming cactus flower and the university’s blossoming into maturity. The smooth, rounded walls of adobe architecture are reflected in the next section, while a disk carries the New Mexico State University “triangle” logo which was in use from 1970 to 2005 on one side and a compatible Mimbres pottery design on the other. The many academic disciplines are noted in the bundled rods of the shaft. The meter-long piece is of sterling silver, while the center of the shaft holds a piece of wood from the university’s first building, McFie Hall (Old Main), which burned in 1910.

The Presidential Medallion

Presidential Medallion

As a symbol of office, a presidential medallion much like the mace has a long history stemming back to the middle ages. The medallion is a part of the presidential regalia and worn by the university president at all formal academic occasions.

Usually made of bronze, sterling silver, or gold and often depicting the university’s seal. Depending on the institution a medallion may be given to each president to keep or can be passed along to the incoming president.

The New Mexico State University medallion was handcrafted by Joe Barela, a local artist renowned for his work. It displays the university seal on one side and the NMSU logo on the other. Made of pure silver with a gold tint.

The University Seal


In December 1962 the New Mexico State University Board of Regents adopted the design of our seal.  The circular design has the words New Mexico State University and the date, 1888, around the edge of the circle and a Zia, with the letters N, M, S, U, in the four corners of the Zia symbol within the circle. The seal is used at our commencement ceremonies and housed in the President’s Office. For more information regarding the use of the NMSU seal please contact the President’s Office.